Tennis is set to return in May courtesy of Patrick Mouratoglou. Mouratoglou, the long-time coach of Serena Williams, took to…
Tennis is set to return in May courtesy of Patrick Mouratoglou.
Mouratoglou, the long-time coach of Serena Williams, took to social media on Saturday to announce the launch of the Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS), which will be staged from his Mouratoglou Academy on the French Riviera.
The UTS will feature various professional players and will be staged over five consecutive weekends, starting from May 16.
The event will be played without fans and enforce strict social distancing measures to ensure the safety of players and staff in regards to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
World No. 10 David Goffin will take on rising star Alexei Popyrin in the first confirmed match of the tournament, with the UTS to live stream 10 matches every weekend of the competition. That means a total of 50 matches will be played throughout the five-week competition.
With millions of US dollars in prize money on offer, the UTS will also also implement an interactive approach similar to that of the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, with microphones to be placed on court so fans watching the live stream can hear players converse with their coaches.
Mouratoglou said he established the Ultimate Tennis Showdown to give players and fans the chance to compete and watch respectively.
“The UTS is simply meant to be an alternative to what already exists,” Mouratoglou said. “It is a platform created to showcase the incredible talent, athleticism and personalities of the wide range of tennis players.
“It offers a new and innovative approach, targeting a younger tennis audience and proposes a different way to distribute the money among the players.”
Mouratoglou recently raised concerns about prize money distribution in tennis and how lower-ranked players would survive financially during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Frenchman says the UTS would assist in creating a ‘long-term financial solution’ for lower-ranked players as the regular tennis calendar remains suspended indefinitely.
“The UTS defines itself as a player-centric league, and therefore features a system focusing on the redistribution of income among the players,” Mouratoglou said. “This system could be particularly beneficial for lower-ranked players.”
Goffin and Popyrin will launch the tournament at 2.00pm CET on May 16.
The full player entry list is set to be announced in the coming weeks, along with the tournament format and prize money distribution system.